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Early retirement - excited, anxious, nervous
Old 10-06-2013, 06:58 AM   #1
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Early retirement - excited, anxious, nervous

I'm 56 years old, wife is 58, we've been married 36 years, 2 grown sons, 2 grandsons. Both of us enjoy excellent health, no chronic conditions (other than a desire to start a new chapter in our lives together). I've been at my job for over 30 years and my wife has been a public school teacher her entire career. Our target retirement is late 2017 and we plan on retiring in the south Pacific living in an off-grid community of expats. In addition to modest pensions we will draw on, there are retirement savings of $455K in balanced portfolios of 401K's & 403B's (annual contribution of about $13K) along with a couple of IRA's. In addition, I'll be receiving a lump sum payout from a trust of $140K in about 12 years. Our home here in the U.S. will be paid off in under two years. We have no other debt and already live under our means (drive older model cars, no credit card debt, etc.) We plan to sell our home and use the proceeds to build on the small piece of property we own in our retirement destination. Once retired and settled in as expats, we expect to have very low living expenses - growing most of our own food, solar & L.P. for energy needs, along with rainwater harvesting. No need for a motor vehicle. Our expat location (Fiji) has "free" healthcare (rudimentary), however, purchasing private health insurance that can be used in N.Z. & Aus. is el-cheapo compared to Western costs. Once retired, we plan to visit the U.S. annually for extended visits as vagabonds of sorts, relying upon friends & family for places to stay (hopefully these will be reciprocal visits). Although excited about our next steps, there is also some trepidation about wanting everything to work out well.
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:57 AM   #2
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imoldernu's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Peru
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Wow!... Breathtaking. Certainly different from the dreams of most ER members.

With plans this advanced, am certain that you have explored the pertinent facts about the country, here:

Am fascinated by those who take the "path less trodden" and wish you well. Cutting ties is a matter of degree, and while planning can reduce the risks, my own experience suggests that keeping a "way back" may be prudent.

My own relatives have made a very successful move to a foreign country and have found great happiness. At the same time, some Canadian friends made a move to a South American country after spending a few weeks in an American enclave as a test... then, cutting ties and selling a viable restaurant business in Canada, only to find after a month, that they had serious problems in coping with such a major change. It wasn't money, or any type of hardship... just a culture shock that manifested in so many ways.

I believe it's a matter the psyche... Without imagination, curiousity, and spirit, we would still be in the dark ages.

The best in following your dreams.
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:44 AM   #3
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Location: Charleston, SC
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That sounds great! We have a friend who successfully retired to Belize (and has the most amazing solar panels running his household electricity). We took him there on his first trip ever out of the USA in 1997. He was not an easy travel companion!

But he fell in love with the place, and kept going back, until he retired a few years ago to a home he had built for him down there. Now he says it is perfect and he can't imagine living anywhere else.

I wish you the same satisfaction in your plans as he's enjoyed with his.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

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Old 10-06-2013, 05:27 PM   #4
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Thank you for the link. Yes, we've been at the planning of this for a while and it was only after making visits at various times in the year that we arrived at our decision (along with visits to other potential locations around Central America). We're beginning the process of prearranging our immigration status. Having friends already in place there is helpful. Nothing like going to school on the experiences of others!

Funny - we never thought of our plans to retire abroad as cutting ties. It is a decision that came about through much soul (and location) searching. Part of that process involved having discussions with family & friends. Although we suspect some may believe we are nuts, everyone has remained supportive and are a big help in moving forward, emotionally and otherwise.

We have acquaintances who found that becoming expats was not for them; and for a variety of reasons. There did however, seem to be several common threads in each case. First, be open to outcomes rather than attached to them. Leave the expectations of Western culture behind, especially as they relate to service. Much of the rest of the world operates on a different timetable than we do in the U.S. Other cultures place great value on family & community. Those will often take precedence over the material. Things will get done, but not necessarily on the time table we might expect. Therefore, managing one's expectations should include planning for it to take twice as long! Don't make demands, instead wear a and have a spirit of generosity. Those typically get a person much farther in a new and different culture.
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